Judges Gone Wild
Bribery! Impeachment! Drug smuggling! Gambling! Justices getting drunk in the chambers! The Florida Supreme Court scandals of the 1970s make today’s political circus look tame by comparison.
Illustrations by Justin Klanke | Edited by Brendan Spiegel
In mid-November 1986, two women came into a funeral home in Jacksonville, Florida, to claim the body of Thomas Mills, who had succumbed to an aggressive case of cancer. The funeral director, quiet and circumspect as his profession necessitates, presided over a confusing situation. It turned out that “Thomas Mills” was a pseudonym. The women at the funeral home were the man’s current wife and ex-wife; each had married him under his given name: David Lucius McCain. He had adopted his assumed name for two reasons. McCain was known as one of the most corrupt State Supreme Court justices in Florida’s history and was eager to outrun his reputation. But he was also literally on the run from federal and state authorities, who had been after him for years for his involvement in an off-the-rails drug smuggling scheme. McCain’s fall from grace came at a time in American history heavy with the pong of political corruption, the same era as …